top of page
  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan


Be the host or hostess with the mostest with my modern twist on a classic dish. It is deceptively simple but presents beautifully and tastes irresistible.

This elegant yet easy recipe delivers silky soft salmon with a bite of red onion paired with creamy horseradish and capers atop a slice of freshly sliced baguette. You can prepare ahead of time and cure the salmon so that on the day all you have to do is slice, assemble and serve.

When curing the salmon we are spoilt for choice with our local hinterland gin options. We have our Tamborine Mountain Cauldron Distillery open for tastings and I personally love the artisan selection available from our local neighbours Beech Mountain Distillery gin you can buy from the local Tamborine Mountain Country markets. The gin adds a delectable flavour and the beetroot turns the outer part a spectacular claret colour. When sliced this contrasts magnificently with the orange of the salmon and delivers the wow factor. This dish makes for a wonderful entrée, a perfect addition to a cheeseboard or you can go ahead and make a posh summer salmon salad.

Did you know? Curing salmon is an age old time tested Viking way of preserving fresh salmon also known as gravlax. Gravlax has a long steeped tradition and can be traced all the way back to the Arctic circle in the 14th-century. In the Middle-Ages, because salt was an expensive and rare commodity poorer people had to be more inventive in how they preserved their foods. In Northern parts of Sweden, peasants and fishermen developed a unique technique called gravad lax which gave birth to the name gravlax and in its origin means ‘buried salmon’.

The filleted salmon was placed in a hole in the earth before being covered with birch bark and laid in a bath of water, with the fish’s own blood and various spices and herbs. This resulted in a rather strong-smelling fish that would be closer to todays infamous ‘surströmming’, fermented herring. As always, however, over time due to creative cooks gravlax-making techniques and the way fish was prepared and seasoned evolved. With the introduction of rubbing the fish with salt, lemon and dill, amongst other things as well as the use of some alcohol a much more appealing dish and the type of cured salmon used in this recipe came about.

Chef Dylan tips: 1. Go to the fish monger and ask them to trim a side of salmon, ask them to remove the thin belly, the end bit near the head and the tail end. This will give you a lovely even piece of salmon to cure. 2. Use Australian sea salt flakes not table salt as it will be too salty. 3. Make sure you wash off the cure properly and then dry it with a paper towel. Leave the skin on and just turn the knife on an angle to remove the flesh when slicing.

Hugo’s restaurant Bondi beach 2000

“Check on! One prawns. One gravlax. One eye med rare. One crab linguine" says Head chef, Tristan. “Oui Chef!” We all respond in military like unison “VIP table guys, so oi Dylan look at me” says Tristan as his two fingers move in rapid succession between his eyes and mine like fangs “This is VIP. Got it! Lord of The Rings movie star kind of VIP so help me God it better be perfect because if there is even a hint of a fingerprint on the edge of those starters I’ll kick your butt so hard your tonsils and testies are gonna be neighbours!”. “Oui Chef” I say way more confidently than I feel as Tristan picks up another docket .

“Check on! Two eye med rare. 4 barramundi. One duck!” No starters, good I think to myself so I spin around to my bench and pull out a plate to start assembling the gravlax as quickly as possible “Dylan I need the VIP up now!”. “10 seconds Chef” I retort “You had 10 seconds 10 seconds ago!” Says Tristan glaring wild eyed like a horse champing at the bit. I polish the plate clean one more time and put it on the pass. Tristan now picking up the plate carefully angles it in the light looking for any hint of a print before placing it back on the pass. “Service! Entrees for VIP table 4.”

“Good job tonight Dylan” says Tristan as I scrub down the bench at the end of the shift. “Listen VIP is still out on table 4 so don’t act like some wide eyed fanboy, she came here for privacy so when you leave don’t even think about trying to get an autograph. “Who is it?” I ask “No one you are going to meet” he says turning to leave. I finish up and while waking past the bar hiding my mouth with my hand I whisper to the bartender “Hey Chris, who’s the VIP on table 4?. “You’ll just have to see” he says winking. I head on down the restaurant and my heart begins to quicken, as I near table 4 I catch a glimpse of her.

She gracefully tilts her head back laughing, her coal black hair swirling at her shoulders. Her smile wide with a mouth painted red as a bursting ripe fig. She somehow seems to shine radiantly like the elven queen she plays in the movie. As I step out through the restaurant door on to the street a fresh cold, salt laden sea air fills my lungs and brings me back to reality still a little star struck. She may have even eaten my gravlax I wonder as I start the long walk home.

PREP TIME: 15mins

CURE TIME: 48hrs

ASSEMBY: 10mins


  • 1kg fresh Salmon (prepped from the fish monger)

  • 500g raw beetroot, peeled and grated

  • 1 lemon zested

  • 3 tsp coriander seeds

  • 3 tsp fennel seed

  • 3 tbs black peppercorns

  • 3/4 cup sea salt flakes

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar

  • 1 tbs GAUCHO seasoning

  • 80 mls Cauldron Distillery or Beech Mountain Distillery gin

Horseradish cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 tbs horseradish from a jar from the supermarket


  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

  • 2 tbs capers

  • Micro greens (optional)

  • Franquette Bakery baguette


  1. To make the curing mixture blitz up the gin, beetroot, salt, sugar, coriander, fennel seeds, pepper, lemon zest and GAUCHO in a food processor until smooth ~3 mins or so. Scrape down the sides.

  2. Line a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold salmon with some glad wrap and enough over hanging to wrap up later.

  3. Pour in and evenly spread out the curing mixture over the base of the dish.

  4. Add the salmon, skin-side up and gently press down.

  5. Cover with glad wrap then place a smaller baking tray or a chopping board on top of the salmon and weigh down with a 4 x 400g tin cans.

  6. Chill in the fridge for 2 days to cure.

  7. Remove salmon from dish and rinse under cold water to remove the cure. Pat dry with paper towel then wrap in glad wrap until needed.


  1. Using a sharp knife thinly slice salmon straight down then on an angle using the knife release the salmon from the skin.

  2. Mix sour cream with horseradish in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Slice baguette into 2-3cm slices on an angle and lightly toast. Spread on some horseradish cream and add some salmon.


For garnish sprinkle with red onion a caper or two and some micro greens. Place onto a serving plate. Et voilà!


bottom of page